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Future Combat Systems (FCS) is a joint (across all the military services) networked (connected via advanced communications) system of systems (one large system made up of 18 individual systems, the network, and most importantly, the Soldier). Future Combat Systems are connected via an advanced network architecture that will enable levels of joint connectivity, situational awareness and understanding, and synchronized operations heretofore unachievable. FCS will operate as a System of Systems (SoS) that will network existing systems, systems already under development, and systems to be developed to meet the requirements of the Army’s Future Force Unit of Action (UA).
Future Combat Systems includes 18+1+1 systems consisting of unattended ground sensors (UGS); two unattended munitions, the Non-Line of Sight – Launch System (NLOS-LS) and Intelligent Munitions System (IMS); four classes of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) organic to platoon, company, battalion and Unit of Action (UA) echelons; three classes of unmanned ground vehicles, the Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV), Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), and Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment Vehicle (MULE); and the eight manned ground vehicles (18 individual systems); plus the network (18+1); plus the Soldier (18+1+1).
FCS is the core building block of the Army’s Future Force. The FCS-equipped Unit of Action (UA) will consist of three FCS-equipped Combined Arms Battalions (CABs), a Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon Battalion, a Reconnaissance Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron, a Forward Support Battalion (FSB), a Brigade Intelligence and Communications Company (BICC), and a Headquarters Company. The FCS-equipped UAs will be the Army’s future tactical warfighting echelon; a dominant ground combat force that complements the dominant Joint team. Although optimized for offensive operations, the FCS-equipped Unit of Action (UA) will have the ability to execute a full spectrum of operations. FCS will improve the strategic deployability and operational maneuver capability of ground combat formations without sacrificing lethality or survivability.